Co-authored with Jose Igreja Matos, President of the European Association of Judges
In recent days, Poland’s political authorities have rushed to approve new legislation in the Sejm, the Polish parliament. The immediate goal of this draft, which suddenly appeared on the Sejm’s website overnight on 12-13 December, could not be more clear: to definitively prohibit Polish judges from assessing the legality of the National Council of Judiciary – suspended by the European Network of Councils for Judiciary for not complying with the statutory rule that a member should be independent from the Executive – and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.
After the lead indicated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in its recent ruling of 19 November, which stated that national judges should ascertain whether the new Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court is independent in order to determine whether such cases must be examined by another court, the Polish government acted quickly to obstruct the concrete implementation of this decision.
As Diego Garcia-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, noted publicly after his official visit to Poland in 2017, the “independence of justice is under threat.” After two years, unfortunately this continues to be the case.